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Galen Kipar and Lyndsay Pruett. Photo by Cameron Yaeger.

Galen Kipar Project Florida Performances

GKP at Prevatt’s on Thurs, Feb 16th
Middleburg, FL 
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GKP & Grandpa’s Cough Medicine at Mojo Kitchen on Fri, Feb 17th
Jacksonville Bch, FL
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GKP at Cellar 6 at Sat, Feb 18th
St. Augustine, FL
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 Effortlessly crafting a fusion of folk, classical, jazz, and blues, the Galen Kipar Project has been hailed as “complex yet accessible” and “cohesive and poignant” with “experimental folk masterpieces.” Based in Asheville, GKP released their fourth album The Scenic Route in 2010 which features the unique sonorous sound that has become the band’s trademark. “In Asheville, fans call his act a ‘small-scale symphony.’ It’s probably more like chamber folk/pop, sometimes reminiscent of Adrian Belew’s quieter moods,” says The Roanoke Times writer Tad Dickens. Joining vocalist Galen Kipar on guitars & harmonica is Lyndsay Pruett on violin & vocals.

Galen Kipar is currently writing new music and in the pre-production phase of the next album. The WCGazzette writes, “Kipar says ripples of his trout-tinted soul will continue to be felt in the band’s upcoming release. ‘It will be accessible, with catchy hooks,’ he says of the album. ‘[But] it will also be complex enough that a fan will be able to listen to it and still come back and hear something new. That’s always been our goal.'”

Galen’s other endeavor keeps him on the water as he serves as a trout ninja (aka. fly fishing guide) with Curtis Wright Outfitters to Western North Carolina which has over 3000 miles of trout waters and streams. He gets much of his inspiration for songwriting while standing waist deep in a river. Galen states in an interview with the WVGazette, “Water, particularly rivers, have many different currents. Music is the same way,” he says. “Music has many different currents, and they all work together. Maybe that’s a little far-fetched, but it’s something that’s always fascinated me.”

True to his inspiration, Galen sings in the song Riversong, “Headin’ on down to the waterside, gonna take some time, to rest my mind. Gonna break there, gonna stay there. For a moment there, I’ll sigh.” Water is a consistent theme in his uplifting music. “I could easily picture myself finding a secluded stream high on the mountain and lying in the warm sun as the Galen Kipar Project played softly in the background. Maybe I can talk them into hiking with me one day, with instruments in hand, of course. I would even offer to carry a few things,” states Magazine 33.

The fan base of the Galen Kipar Project is growing exponentially, with a strong regional presence in the Southeast plus U.S. national touring, including performances at Magnolia Fest, Suwanee Springfest, FloydFest, Six Points Music Festival, and the Crested Butte Music Series. The GKP has also played the Knitting Factory in NYC and to a jam-packed, toe-tapping crowd at the Kennedy Center’s renowned Millennium Stage in Washington DC. This fall they will be returning to Magnolia Fest amongst other shows on their tour.

The New River Voice recalled, “If the Pied Piper-like migration of people to the stage during their FloydFest performance is any kind of barometer, the band is on an immutable trajectory of permeating Southwest Virginia with their versatile, yet immediately attainable sonority.”

Photo by Jake Candy.

www.GalenKipar.com

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This just in!!  The Larry Keel Experience has a sound track included in a new film by Confluence Films.  They do WORLD CLASS movies about fly fishing, really the absolute best in the industry and the Keels are excited to be part of this one! Far be it from Larry Keel and his fast-pickin, fishin master band to miss out on an opportunity to be involved in a FISH PORN project as cool as this! no lover of travel, nature, exciting settings and music can resist!!

For this latest project, Confluence Films used one of Larry Keel Experience’s instrumental’s “Sound Check” in the Alaska segment of the movie. This tune was written by Will Lee and performed by The Larry Keel Experience on their self-titled album. Find out more about Larry Keel at www.larrykeel.com

Click here to check out the new trailer for CONNECT.

Confluence Films brings you their biggest project yet! In 2008 they brought you DRIFT. In 2009 it was RISE Now their most ambitious project yet- CONNECT. 2 Years in the making. 6 International locations. 12 Anglers. 10 species. 1 Angry Croc. On DVD and Blue Ray November 4th 2001.

The film will premiere Saturday, October 8th, 2011 at the Ellen Theatre in Bozeman, MT. Sponsors for CONNECT include Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures, Costa Del Mar Sunglasses, Hatch Reels and Simms Fishing Products.

You will have the chance to view the new movie “on the Big Screen” by attending one of the Screening events in Bozeman, MT (10/8 & 10/13)  —  Salt Lake City, UT (10/18)  —  Bend, OR (10/20)  —  Johannesburg, South Africa (11/25)

Check back to http://www.confluencefilms.tv/tour.php on a regular basis for more tour dates that will be added soon.

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Festival season, and Fishin season, are on and the Keels are making their rounds across the country. Both Larry and Jenny Keel did a couple of great inerviews that were published last week.  Here are some excerpts:

Flat-picking guitar player Larry Keel lives a simple life of bluegrass and fishing for bass, trout or about anything else with fins.  By Bill Lynch with the WV Gazette.
Flat-picker Larry Keel is pretty much exactly how he sounds — a down-to-earth, plain-spoken country boy who just happens to be one of the best bluegrass guitarists in the country.
. . .   . . .   . . .

Sometimes, he comes for the music. Sometimes, he comes for the fishing. Sometimes, he comes for both. Keel loves to fish almost as much as he loves to play bluegrass.

“I try to fish wherever I go,” he said. “We travel a lot, and I’m always looking for a watering hole — any place where I can cast a line.”

A few years ago, he and a couple of partners got the idea to combine sport fishing with bluegrass picking. They started a company called Fishin and Pickin.

. . .   . . .    . . .

Finding like minds has never been too difficult for Keel. He’s always had a talent for surrounding himself with or finding people who, like him, are dedicated to making quality music — and like to fish. Aside from and sometimes alongside his band, Keel often collaborates with artists like Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna’s Jorma Kaukonen and indie folk rocker Keller Williams.

“I’ve got a band I really love,” he said. “We’ve got Mark Schimick on mandolin, and he’s just a powerhouse. Will Lee plays the five-string banjo.”

Lee is the son of bluegrass guitarist Rickey Lee, who played guitar and sang with the Stanley Brothers.

“Will and me have been playing together for about 25 years now,” Keel said.

The two met while performing during the Old Fiddler’s Convention in Galax, Va. They’ve been fishing for nearly as long.

Keel’s wife, Jenny, rounds out the quartet, playing upright bass and singing harmony.

“The music is really tight,” he said. “It’s just sounding so good.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://wvgazette.com/Entertainment/201105041492

and here is a nice interview with Jenny Keel:

Bluegrass artist reels in wife, bandmate. Musician creates website for anglers, pickers

Larry Keel might be hard-pressed to choose between his two passions: bluegrass and fishing.

In fact, on a day set aside for interviews, Keel got a chance to go fishing and with the blessing of his wife and bandmate, Jenny, he went.

“I actually love to fish, too, but I have to hold down the fort,” she joked from their Virginia home.

Fortunately, he finds ways to combine the two – he recently launched a new project and Website called Fishin’ and Pickin’ at www.fishinandpickin.com.

The site has lots of fishing and music tips and a schedule of workshops and camps Keel and friends host on live water properties that teach fellow musicians how to improve both their picking skills and their hooking skills.

. . .    . . .    . . .Jenny said these days the band members prefer to be weekend warriors, although they can do three shows in a long weekend when they plan strategically.

She said they need the time at home, not just to fish, but to handle the logistics.

“We’re very self-managed and self-produced,” she said.

Larry currently is working on his next album, with 13 others already under his belt.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.dailymail.com/Entertainment/201105041626?page=2&build=cache


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Larry Keel, Natural Bridge and Elk River Inn/Restaurant are planning one of most unique bluegrass weekends ever offered in the Mid Atlantic states. You don’t want to miss this rare opportunity to attend a 3-day fishin and pickin weekend at the base of Snow Shoe Mountain In WV from April 28th- May 1st! Find out more at: http://larrykeel.com/uncategorized/fishin-and-pickin-presents-trout-tunes/

Larry Keel and Natural Bridge’s Banjo player, Will Lee, did a wonderful interview with Erin O’Neill from Graffiti Magazine in WV about the event. Here are some excerpts:

From a young age, Will Lee knew he wanted to be a performer. Growing up with musicians on both sides of his family, it was a natural progression for Lee to follow in their footsteps.

His father, Rickey Lee, was a well-known guitarist with the Bluegrass Tarheels, special proteges of Bill Monroe and later, lead guitarist for the Stanley Brothers. On his mom’s side, Grandpa Clark was a fine ragtime pianist whose two sons both play guitar.

Lee’s choice of instrument, the banjo, was passed down from his grandfather and namesake, William Penmon Lee, a respected clawhammer banjo player in Alabama and Mississippi.

After high school, young Will Lee began playing festivals and caught up with 19-year-old Larry Keel, a flat-picking phenom. The duo were soon joined by Danny Knicely and John Flower on mandolin and bass and Magraw Gap was born.

Now Lee is joining Keel once again to bring his two loves together — pickin’ and fishin’.


. . .   . . .   …

Graffiti: Do you play primarily bluegrass or do you dabble in other genres?

Lee: Up until the time I met Larry Keel, Danny Knicely and Rex Mcgee, I was primarily a bluegrass banjo picker. And although I still hold down the bluegrass end in the band, I like doing the reggae and rock covers that we do. I like getting spacey, too.

Graffiti: What is it about “mountain music” that inspires you to keep going out and doing what you do?

Lee: It is basically the roots of many mainstream musics and I’m a third generation musician who respects where it all came from.

Graffiti: Tell me how you got hooked up with Larry Keel.

Lee: I met Larry Keel at Galax Fiddlers Convention and he was 16 and I was a couple years older – haha – I saw him in a jam session playing the fastest, hottest Tony Rice licks I’d ever heard. So I convinced him to come hang out with me and my brother and we’ve been pickin’ ever since.

Graffiti: What’s the deal with Trout and Tunes? Why combine these two things and what, specifically, will you be doing at the event?

Lee: At Trout and Tunes we are going to be hanging out doing some music workshops, having some jam sessions and fishing in some great West Virginia trout waters -both of which are two of my passions. I will be doing banjo workshops to hopefully help some folks that are just beginning and want to learn some new licks or some of my style of banjo or just to pick some tunes. And I plan on trying to catch some trout on the fly rod.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://graffitiwv.com/page/content.detail/id/501205/Lee–Have-banjo–will-travel.html?nav=5017

LKNB Photo by Vikas Nambiar

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Larry Keel, Natural Bridge and Elk River Inn/Restaurant are planning one of most unique bluegrass weekends ever offered in the Mid Atlantic states. You don’t want to miss this rare opportunity- Trout and Tunes! It’s a Bass and Grass style instruction/fishing/music weekend that Keel and company have lined up for the weekend of April 28th – May 1st in Slatyfork, WV.

The musician fisherman or even the fishin music-lover will love to be involved in this intimate Fishin N Pickin Workshop and Camp weekend hosted at The Elk River Inn, geared to teach pickin musicians how to advance their ‘chops’ on their instruments, and have the chance to catch some big fish in the process. The Elk River Inn is a cross country ski touring center located at the base of Snowshoe Mt., WV that in the warm season functions as a fly fishing outfitter and mountain bike touring center with great lodging, GREAT restaurant and a bar…The perfect location for Trout & Tunes!

The Trout & Tunes event is now offering a 15% discount on the 3 day lodging package when you book a spot for you and a friend. Also, we’re now offering a camping package with a limited amount of space. The cost will be $349.00 for three nights which will include all meals, instruction, outdoor activites, event swag and evening concerts. the two night camping package will 295.00 which will start with dinner on Friday evening and include the rest of the package amenties.

There is also more information for the musician fisherman or the fishin music-lover at Keel and company’s website Fishin and Pickin.  Also, check out the great article in the Herald Dispatch about the weekend!

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Here’s a great Q & A with Larry Keel in Awaiting the Flood that was posted over the holidays.

(Way More Than) 12 Questions with Larry Keel

By Lindsey Grossman in Awaiting the Flood

Alt-grass legend and flatpicking guitar genius Larry Keel has been a busy guy this year. Keel launched a new website, Fishin’ and Pickin’, as well as a facelift of LarryKeel.com, complete with new music releases and daily fishing reports.

Keel played a full summer schedule, hitting the biggest and best festivals and events across America, performing as Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, Keller and the Keels, Keel and Adam Aijala, Jeff Austin and The Keels, Magraw Gap, and other interesting and irresistible collaborations.

We caught up with the legendary Keel via email during his tour right before the holidays to talk about life on the road with his fabulous wife, collaborating with Keller, and of course, ATF’s infamous 12 questions.

How would you describe your brand of bluegrass?
Original, and from the soul.

Old and young alike flock to your shows. How do you account for such an eclectic base of both traditional and progressive bluegrass fans?
Must be because our music has soul and creates happiness… that’s our goal anyway.

We see you have some tour dates scheduled with your brother. How does it feel to share the stage with the guy who gave you your first guitar and taught you how to play?
Playing with Gary is always a true honor, and it’s always so REAL… it’s the best.

What’s it like to tour with your wife (who plays a mean upright base, by the way)? Any secrets to having a happy marriage on the road?
We always knew from the git-go that we wanted to work together, whatever the work was gonna end up being. It’s a blessing to be able to play music together, travel everywhere together. No secret to pass on to you about it all, we just want to enjoy life.

Your latest collaboration with Keller Williams, “Thief,” came out earlier this year with quite the proverbial grab bag of cover songs. How did you decide which songs to cover?
That was all Keller’s doing. We just go in there after a bit of rehearsal and hangin’ out together, and then we record what he’s arranged for us. We trust him entirely to make awesome choices… he never disappoints.

We love your beard! How long have you had it? Have you ever been tempted to shave it off?
I’ve had a full beard since I was 16, but I’ve shaved it many times, had all kinds of looks. But the beard is pretty much a trademark.

And the Infamous 12 Questions:

1. What’s for supper?
This week we’ve had large mouth bass that I caught, and a deer roast that my buddy Will Lee shared with us (plenty more of both in the freezer) along with lots of my mom’s garden vegetables and herbs from this year’s canning and freezing.

2. List five items currently in your refrigerator (or if you’re on the road: cooler, glove compartment, backpack, suitcase).
Guitar strings, sunglasses, coffee, nutritional yeast and Tums.

3. Fitzgerald or Hemingway?
Hemingway.

4. What are you listening to and reading these days?
Danny Barnes and the local paper.

. . . Read Questions 5-11 at the original post . . .

12. What’s next for Larry Keel?
Tons of surprises.

READ THE ORIGINAL POST HERE: http://awaitingtheflood.com/q-and-a-with-larry-keel/

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Larry Keel and Natural Bridge just played a show at Ft Ashby in WV at the RoadHouse Pub. Jeff Henry from the Appalachian Independent got to sit down with Larry and ask a few questions.  Click here for the original post and a couple photos.

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

What was it like working at Tokyo Disneyland?

It was really cool. I learned a lot. A friend was living down in Florida, he sent me word up to Virginia that they were doing auditions for a bluegrass band to go to Tokyo Disneyland. It was something different, I was a mountain boy – had never been out of the mountains before so going to Tokyo was extremely exciting. We got our chops down – playing six shows a day. Each show was a half hour. We’d have a half hour off, then a half hour on. We did this for about six months.

Folks were intrigued by bluegrass and I was intrigued by the Japanese music. I like music (genres) of all flavors everywhere. With a lot of the soldiers being there during WWII there was a pretty big bluegrass following and interest in Tokyo. I met a lot of great musicians there.

What do you like to do while on tour?

I like to do a lot of stuff while on the road – like to sample the great food out there, visit friends all over the country, take in all of the sights like national parks. I like to fish as much as I can, if I have my fishing pole with me and there’s a mudhole somewhere, I’m liable to cast in it.

You’ve played festivals, theaters, pubs, and bars – what do you like about these venues and what brings you back to small towns?

I like all sorts of venues. I like to get a crowd in and get ’em focused in what we’re doing, take their minds off their troubles for a little while… and just have some fun and get the energy level up. No matter where you’re at, if you’re doing your job right (the crowd will love you). As far as coming back to small towns – I just love small town America. That’s what America is – it’s all the people you meet at these places, it’s a beautiful thing.

When will you be back in the area?

We’ll be up in Morgantown in the beginning of December (author note: December 11, 2010 at 123 Pleasant St). We’ll be back in Frostburg in February. I always advise everybody to check out our website (larrykeel.com). That’s what I do… I don’t know where I’m going to be half the time (laughs).

If you could jam with one musician, dead or alive, who would it be?

I’d probably want to play with Miles Davis. He had a whole lot of things figured out in a very simplistic and complicated way. I’m a big admirer of his music.
There are so many of them who have come and passed – Bill Monroe and Django Reignhardt. I try to pay my respects to them while I do my thing.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ORIGINAL POST AND VIEW PHOTOShttp://www.appindie.org/index.php/arts/84-arts-and-leisure/1799-five-questions-with-larry-keel?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed:+AppIndie-AllSections+(All+Articles+on+The+Appalachian+Independent)

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Interview with Larry Keel at the Festy

by Diane Farineau

Author, Diane Farineau, is  researching & co-writing The Festival Project, a photo book project which features the combined works of photographers Chester SimpsonMilo Farineau
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One of the highlights at the Infamous Stringduster’s new Festival “The Festy” was a Sunday appearance by Larry Keel and Natural Bridge. The trio quickly became a quartet as they were joined on stage by guitarist and Larry’s brother, Gary. When asked if they played together a lot, Larry responded “It’s rare. But when we do festivals in the area, he comes out and does some picking with us, it’s always so fun! ”

After their rousing set, the band spoke with members of the press and then settled in to just hang out for a little bit. “Everyone’s just here to want to hang out for a bit, which we don’t get to do much” said Mark Shimick. “The Stringdusters will play a lot of traditional bluegrass festivals, where we play some jam band festivals, so we don’t get together that much so it’s nice to see
them.”

The band is known to end up picking in the parking lot on occasion, which they enjoy, and Larry explained; “when I started going to festivals/fiddlers conventions, that’s what it was all about, before being a performer at them it was about all our friends getting together, making a big ol’ pot of soup or something, playing a bunch of music all night and then all day, then playing all night again. That’s where you get your chops down, where you learn to play. It’s very special.” Jenny agreed “That’s a great place to go when you’re just learning, listening and absorbing and getting in to the pulse of it all, watching others, the old-timers, new-timers and everything in between, and then slowly you start picking yourself, it’s a great way to absorb it and take it further, if you want to or just enjoy it for what it’s worth. “

The band has had a busy but fun year, listing some of their highlights “we’ve had a wonderful season this year, Telluride, Grand Targhee, Music on the Mountaintop, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco was really awesome too, French Broad, Watermelon Park.”

I couldn’t resist asking for a fishing update as well, “I haven’t done as much of that as I’ve wanted to,” said Larry, “I did some out in Idaho, fly fishing. I fish every kind of way I can, I do a lot of bass fishing, I did some fishing in the Outer Banks this summer, some saltwater fishing. I caught a lot of bass in Georgia. Every chance I get, I go!”

I wondered what it was like to be on the road as a musical couple, Mark pointed out (and Larry agreed) “Jenny is the bedrock of the band, seriously, she takes care of a lot of stuff to let Larry have his creativity and she’ll let me know if I have something I need to do.” “We wouldn’t want it any other way,” explained Jenny, “we knew, one way or another, we wanted to work together
and be together, so here it is!”

When asked about the noticeable absence of a banjo in the group, Larry explained: “We had our banjo player for a while, he’s out in Colorado now, he’s restarted up his old band and we’re back to our trio that we’ve had for 10 years, and that’s our core part of the band but we have a few very special guests we like to bring in to make it a quartet. Today it was Nate Leath on the fiddle, which, he’s as great fiddler player as there is, really. We have quite a few special guests we like to get out, like Will Lee on the 5 string banjo, he’s a master and a wonderful singer too. We sort of switch it up, have trios, have a banjo or a fiddle, we like to mix it up. And I think our audience likes that. It keeps it fresh for them and it keeps it fresh for us.

When asked where their evening was headed, Larry smiled “I’m looking forward to picking with as many of these folks as I can, we don’t always get to hang out, so it’s sure nice when we do!”

Also, check out this article by Diane about the Festy itself: https://dreamspider.wordpress.com/2010/10/13/introducing-the-festy-experience/

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Great review of  The Galen Kipar Project from a recent show in Roanoke, VA! Check it out:

Pop Life: A Promising “Project”

September 7th, 2010 · New River Voice

Since the halcyon days of first grade, I’d been told never to begin a story with “Once upon a time.” The universal tenet being that such a preface should be reserved for homilies and fairy tales. Not to mention that the appearance of these words typically portends banal storytelling: “Once upon a time this thing happened at this place around this time, and some stuff went down after that, and people learned lessons about the virtues of Cornhole tournaments (but not everyone because some people are just inherently evil), and that’s really all I have to say, so thanks for reading; enjoy the lobster bisque.”

And yet for the tale of Galen Kipar and his Asheville, North Carolina-based band, The Galen Kipar Project, “Once upon a time” seems just as appropriate an introduction as any. Notwithstanding the fact that they’re about to put the finishing touches on album number four in nearly as many years, they may as well have just materialized out of thin air.

Of course, the burgeoning swell of die-hard followers, I’m certain, would take issue with such a promulgation, but c’mon. Apart from a Facebook page, a few CD review quotes, and a couple of YouTube videos, there seems to be precious little information on these guys circulating the excessively waterlogged World Wide Webfoot platypus. I mean they don’t even have their own Wikipedia entry! Who doesn’t have their own Wikipedia entry?  OK, I don’t.

But never mind. If you’re unfamiliar with these troubadours’ dynamic body of work, you probably won’t be for too much longer. Kipar and company have frequented the New River and Roanoke valleys often during their five-year lifespan, and if the Pied Piper-like migration of people to the stage during their FloydFest performance this past summer is any kind of barometer, the band is on an immutable trajectory of permeating Southwest Virginia with their versatile, yet immediately attainable sonority.

The Project’s Facebook page describes the band’s sound as “a fusion of folk, classical, jazz, and blues.” When I saw them recently play Blue 5 in Roanoke, my mind reflexively conjured up Dave Matthews Band comparisons, which I think will be inevitable for any first-time indulgers, if not slightly unfair. More so, however, I found they reminded me of the now defunct Blue Mountain, a band whose foundation was similarly fashioned through roots music, and the dissolution of which I still mourn. Yet while speaking with Kipar during a set break, I get the impression he’s not exactly high on genre labels or comparisons to his contemporaries anyway.

“Everything’s already been done before, right?” he says with an amiable shrug. But then, with just the slightest hint of mild sardonicism in his tone, he provides an example of a same-yet-different trend in Americana music to underscore his point: “I mean now they got guys playing punk music with banjos.”

Now, although he doesn’t actually list names, you get the sense that he could be referring to any number of artists comprising all the vastly ambiguous classifications of music that have “folk” somewhere in the title, including folk rock, folk punk, and—my personal favorite—freak folk. (I’m still waiting to hear the emerging artists from the folk accountant and folk serial killer movements.)

With the multitude of style amalgamations suffusing modern music, genre classifications have become essentially superfluous, if not all together inaccurate. Alternative music of any kind is no longer the exception, but the norm.  And who cares? Attempting to affix some kind of a half-assed, culturally resonant moniker to a style of music these days is merely a result of this inherent compulsion to “explain” what it is you’re hearing. Palpable, engaging music requires no explanation or deconstruction. And Kipar and friends deliver on that premise in spades.

While comparisons to the aforementioned Dave Matthews Band may be inextricable, DMB’s relentless touring schedule during the early ’90s—which slowly but surely transmogrified them from humble, bootleg tape-condoning road warriors to monolithic megastars—is not a path Kipar has any interest in emulating.

He gave that a go a few years back, and found it both physically and mentally exhausting. Plus, the reality is that, at the moment, the band’s coffer does not serve as the exclusive source of income for each of its constituents. Bassist, Ben Portwood has his own edible landscape architecture business, (yeah, I didn’t know what that was either until I looked it up; prior to that, I just had images of flavorful sawdust), and Kipar himself brings home the bacon as a fly fishing guide, a passion he explores in the ebullient song entitled, naturally, “Fishing.”

Now, with the Internet serving as the ultimate dissemination tool, the need to be on the road constantly is no longer a prerequisite for reaching a wide audience. Instead, Kipar can allocate more time to focus on songwriting and development, and the overall cultivation of his artistry.

So, five years into this gig, the story of the Galen Kipar Project is just beginning. Looking for a good intro? How about this: Once upon a time, a guy named Galen Kipar picked up a guitar, people listened, and good things followed.

Todd Guill is a columnist for the New River Voice, music fan, and an astute observer of pop culture.

READ THE ORIGINAL POST HERE: http://newrivervoice.com/archives/4783

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March 03, 2010 @ 10:35 PM

DAVE LAVENDER

The Herald-Dispatch

www.herald-dispatch.com

Photo courtesy of Ken Bloch Photography Mark Schimick, left, and Larry Keel

Snow piles have melted away, the calendar has turned the page to March, so the heck with waiting ’til May. Larry Keel is starting festival season right now.

Keel, the festival favorite flat-picker who’s burned up the stage with everyone from Yonder Mountain String Band and Keller Williams to the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Tony Rice, brings his red-hot band, Natural Bridge to the V Club, 741 6th Ave., for a Friday night hoe-down.

Cover is $10 or $13 day of the show to see Keel, who will be joined by Natural Bridge (Mark Schimick on mandolin and vocals, Jason Flournoy on banjo and vocals, and his wife Jenny Keel on upright bass and vocals).

Keel said he’s been holed up this winter writing lots of songs, recording a new CD with his longtime buddy, guitar master Keller Williams, and just waiting on spring.

“I’ve been snowed in and snowed in and snowed out,” Keel said laughing about trying to make it to shows from out of his southwest Virginia mountain home during the maw of the winter. “We went down to Florida during the week and it started snowing down there, and get home and it was snowing again, and we’re going to West Virginia and it’s snowing again.”

A little cabin time hasn’t been a bad thing though, Keel said. Natural Bridge has been holed up, getting tight and ready to unleash the party with their festival friends.

“Schimick and ‘Deep South’ Jason Flournoy we’ve been having a wonderful time and we’ve been working on a lot of new music and they’ve been working on a lot of new music and so we’ve had a little more time to do that,” Keel said. “We’ve got some fresh music and are ready to come in there and wind it up and get wild.”

Keel, who’s been a festival favorite at Sunshine Daydream, Hookahville and the Appalachian Uprising in our region, said there’s something special about coming around the Mountain State to play.

“There’s so many good folks there we love all you folks in West Virginia,” Keel said, “We got started up there a while ago with the Davisson Brothers and we did a lot of hang-time with them and a lot of fishing and eating good and playing music and raising hell and that’s a beautiful thing. There’s a wonderful kind of hospitality with just a lot of the folks and promoters and it seems that West Virginia is brimming with music lovers and artists and that enclave.”

Keel, who has traipsed around the country with everyone from Adam Aijala (of Yonder Mountain) to Rice, said although he travels everywhere to play his new-grassed mountain music, there is something special about these Appalachian Mountains.

“I don’t think the people not from the mountains understand,” Keel said. “It’s my home and it was what I was pushed out of and what I’ll be put back down into. I think a lot of people pride themselves in that and it’s part of that majestic thing of the mountains.”

Keel said he’s very much looking forward to festival season.

For the first time in its 9 year history, he won’t be coming to the Tri-State’s largest jam festival, Appalachian Uprising in Scottown, Ohio.

He does have nearby festival gigs at Hookahville #33 up in Ohio, and DelFest over in southern Pa.

Keel said he was tore up hearing about the loss this winter of John Kevin “Trip” McKlenny, the founder of the Terra Alta, W.Va.-based Sunshine Daydream festival grounds. Trip, a long-time friend of the Keels, was buried last week after a two-year bout with liver cancer.

“I can’t even imagine how many times we’ve played up there, it’s been for years, really, and we’ve played with so many different combos,” Keel said. “One of the first times was with Leftover Salmon and the last time we played up there it was with Tony Rice and that was really a special one. Trip’s really done a lot for music up there and he was a good, good fellow and we’re going to miss him. The older you get the more you lose and you see a lot more loss. The spirit of that fellow will live on because he did a lot for folks and cared a lot about people.”

This year for festival season, the Keels will be releasing a new CD with long-time friend and oft-musical-touring partner, Keller Williams.

“We’ll have a brand new Keller and the Keels CD by June and it’s going to be really hot, it’s on fire,” Keel said. “I’m waiting on a copy right now, just to check it over. We’re super excited about it. I can’t disclose any more info about it other than to stay tuned to his website and mine.”

In addition to the new CD, the Keels have had their web site revamped, and Keel has also launched a new web site that encompasses two of his life’s loves — Fishin and Pickin — with his fishing buddy Shannon Wheeler, a local fiddle player and fishermen who works at the local Gander Mountain, outdoors store.

“I got so many hard-core fishing buddies everywhere I go that have developed over the years and they all love music and fishing and we just started talking more and more and so we have started this web site that has pictures and videos and news from the picking world and the fishing world,” Keel said.

Keel’s already gotten submissions from such musical friends as Aijala, who was down in Central America fishing, as well as Taj Mahal, and others.

Keel, who was known at the nearby Appalachian Uprising for his stage-filling jam that would pack the stage with a dozen or more pickers, said life just is better when you open yourself up and share in the music and good times both on stage and off.

“With me and Adam it’s just the guitars and doing our thing and doing some really cool freaky material and it is just so comfortable and that’s the way the music should be,” Keel said. “There shouldn’t be no hidden agenda just really soulful playing and writing and getting down to business. It is the most serious blessing of the whole thing. I grew up being so inspired by seeing and hearing all of these players like Sam Bush and Tony Rice, and even a lot of names you don’t hear or have never heard of, so it is like full circle for me to now get to stand in that circle with them and make music and trade riffs and feelings off of each other. It is the most amazing thing and I can’t believe it is happening sometimes.”

If You Go:

WHAT: National-act acoustic artist, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge

WHERE: The V Club, 741 6th Ave., Huntington

WHEN: 11 p.m. Friday, March 5. Show starts at 10 p.m. Doors open at 8 p.m.

HOW MUCH: $10 advance or $13 at the door

CONTACT: Call 304-552-7569 or go online at www.vclublive.com orwww.myspace.com/wvvclub

HEAR SOME KEEL: Go online at www.myspace.com/larry keel to hear a batch of original songs from Keel and Natural Bridge, including “Diamond Break,” a tune Keel wrote after Hurricane Katrina about one of his favorite music cities, New Orleans.

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